Plans NOW Our Top 10 Workbench Accessories - miketilt

Plans NOW Our Top 10 Workbench Accessories - miketilt

Plans NOW®

Our Top 10



Simple, shop-built devices

help you get the most out of

your workbench.

The workbench is the largest “tool” in my shop. And I use it for

a lot of tasks. But even the best of tools can benefit from some

practical accessories. The ten you see on these pages are the ones

I use most often in my shop. Besides making tasks quicker, safer,

and more accurate, these simple add-ons can be built with mostly

scrap material and in less than one hour. That’s more than enough

reason to add a few of these to your bench.

1 Hold-Down Clamp

One of the keys to accurate

hand work is making sure that your

workpiece is held securely. That’s

where the hold-downs you see in

the drawings come into play. Since

Planing into

the stop keeps

workpiece from

moving around

without clamps

From Woodsmith magazine

Hold-Down Clamp

they’re made from wood, they won’t

mar your workpiece. And a large

wing knob makes it a snap to tighten

the clamp down or loosen it quickly

to reposition the workpiece.

Planing Stop


allow stop

to slide below

bench top, out of

the way

Short arm is used for

thick stock

Long arm keeps

thin stock in


T-nut in block

attaches hold-down

to bench

Size bolt to fit



Pivot block

holds arm

in place

Nuts act as a

stop to keep

bolt from



2 Planing Stop

Securing large panels to my workbench

for planing or belt sanding was always a bit tricky.

Clamps often get in the way of the tool and bench

dogs are too narrow to keep the workpiece from

shifting. To provide a solid stop for the workpiece,

I attached this board to one end of the workbench.

A pair of angled slots in the stop allow it to slide

below the worksurface when it’s not needed. A

couple of screws anchor it in place.

page 1 of 4 ©2006 August Home Publishing Company

All rights reserved

3 The large, flat surface of my workbench

is perfect for most of the work I do. But

clamping a round or odd-shaped workpiece to

the benchtop can seem more like trying to hold

onto a wet bar of soap.

To make it easier to grab and hold these

pieces, I turn to the simple, two-part V-block

you see here. I made mine from a section of

“two-by” stock. The base can be any length,

but I found 12" to be about right. It provides

a stable, wiggle-free platform for drilling,

shaping, or smoothing. A shorter top piece

gives the clamps a flat spot to lock the part in

place without marring it.

V-Block V-Block

Fence can be used

as a guide for


Wide base

can be used for

chiseling to

keep workbench

free of dings

Side view of bench


hook and bench horse

5 Bench Horse

I like to think of these narrow bench

hooks as benchtop saw horses. They raise

a workpiece high enough off the benchtop

to crosscut the end without damaging my

bench. I also use them for trimming tenons.

It’s a good idea to make at least two so

you can support long stock. I made mine

the same depth as the full-size bench hook

shown above. This way, they can serve

as “outfeed” support so long workpieces

won’t sag.

From Woodsmith magazine


Upper block

provides flat spot

for clamps

V-block made

from "two-by" stock

Plane into the fence

for best control

Lower block

cradles workpiece

and keeps it

in place



bench horses

to match

bench hook

to use as



Bench Hook

Cleat hooks

over edge of

the bench

4 Bench Hook

This is one bench accessory that

I always keep close at hand. I can use it as

a guide for quickly cutting parts to length

or as a planing stop for small parts, as you

can see in the drawing at left. The base also

protects the bench from sharp chisels and

carving tools.

The bench hook is made up of a wide plywood

base with a thick hardwood fence at

the back and a cleat along the front edge to

catch on the edge of the workbench.

Bench Horse

Two horses

fully support

long workpieces

page 2 of 4 ©2006 August Home Publishing Company

All rights reserved

accessories for the


6 Small Parts Platform

Hunching over a bench while

working on a small workpiece is a good way

to get a back ache. And securing a small,

thin part to a large workbench top can be

another problem. But the solution to these

two problems is a plywood platform that

couldn’t be simpler to make.

The plywood top is small and thin

enough to securely clamp a workpiece on

all four sides for carving, or other close-up

work. I’ve also found this platform comes

in handy as a small parts

assembly table.

The raised platform at

right is just two small pieces

of plywood joined into a “T”

shape with a dado and some

glue and screws. Just be sure

the bottom leg of the “T” is

long enough to bring the

platform up to a comfortable

working height when it’s

clamped in a bench vise.

Board Jack

From Woodsmith magazine


jack made

from a

piece of





to match



Position board jack below

edge of workpiece so it

won’t interfere with tool



small, detailed

workpieces to

a comfortable


Board jack

supports long boards

or panels held in a

face vise

Small Parts Platform


and support

made from

#/4" plywood

Base supports

workpiece and

allows clamps on

all sides as


7 Board Jack

Like small parts, clamping

and supporting long boards or wide

panels to a workbench can pose some

challenges. Especially if you need to

work on the edges of these pieces.

The solution I use isn’t really new.

In fact, it’s been used by woodworkers

for hundreds of years. It’s

called a board jack. (Although some

people call it a “sliding deadman.”)

As you can see in the drawing

at left, the board jack supports the

opposite end of a long workpiece

while it’s clamped in the face vise.

Although some board jacks are permanently

attached to the workbench,

mine is just a board that gets clamped

in the end vise. A row of holes drilled

along the length and a short wood

peg make it easy to adjust for the

width of the board or panel.

page 3 of 4 ©2006 August Home Publishing Company

All rights reserved

8 Miter Shooting Board

A poor-fitting miter joint on a project sticks out

like a sore thumb. However, trimming it to fit tight on the

table saw or miter saw can be a challenge. That’s when I

like to turn to a sharp hand plane and this miter shooting

board. With the shooting board, I can hold the workpiece

firmly against the angled fence. Then I can trim a bit at a

time to sneak up on the fit. The plane is guided by a wide

rabbet cut in the edge of the base. A pair of fences attached

to the base allow you to trim right or left miters.

Machinist's Vise

Secure the

machinist's vise

to workbench

in face vise

10 Mini Miter Box

Mini Miter Box

Zing! If you’ve ever tried to cut small

pieces of molding on a power miter saw, you

know the sound a piece makes as it catches on

the blade and goes whistling across the shop.

Besides being difficult to control, cutting small

parts on the miter saw can

sometimes lead to tearout

Attach fence to cleat

and rough cut edges.

with screws

A cleaner and safer way to

make those cuts is to use a

hand saw and the small miter

box you see in the drawing

at right. It clamps securely

in a bench vise. A kerf for 90°

and left and right 45° cuts in

the fence guides the saw for

smooth cuts every time.

From Woodsmith magazine


guides plane



hand saw


Miter Shooting Board

Attach cleat

to base


Miter box

makes it easy to

accurately cut small parts like

dowels or molding

at 90° or 45°


support workpiece

at 45° to trim miters

Dust channel

keeps chips from


with cut

9 Add a Machinist’s Vise

While I work with wood most of the time I’m at my bench, there

are times when I need to cut, file, or shape metal. For that, a machinist’s

vise comes in pretty handy. But I don’t want or need it on my bench all

the time. To make for easy use, I bolted the vise to a plywood base that

has a cleat on the bottom. The cleat gets clamped in the face vise of the

workbench and holds the metal vise steady as a rock.

page 4 of 4 ©2006 August Home Publishing Company

All rights reserved

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